Nats fan favorite Parra leaves to play in Japan

8:26 AM ET Associated Press TOKYO — The “Baby Shark” is moving to Japan. Outfielder Gerardo Parra has agreed to a contract with the Central League champion Yomiuri Giants, the team said Tuesday. A two-time Gold Glove winner and a backup on this year’s World Series champion Washington Nationals, the 32-year-old outfielder has a .276 […]

Saracens back players’ England roles amid relegation battle says Mark McCall

• Club say they will not let their need for points obstruct England • Six Saracens players started World Cup final in Japan Saracens, attempting to deal with the fallout from one of the biggest scandals in English club history, insist their heavy punishment for salary-cap breaches will not have an impact on Eddie Jones’s squad in the forthcoming Six Nations. The England head coach has said that there may be some dislocation between Saracens’ players in his squad and those from other clubs and that a club v [..]

Sale eager for Faf de Klerk to sprinkle stardust on and off the pitch

Steve Diamond welcomes back his World Cup-winning scrum-half against La Rochelle on Sunday and his club can hardly wait Faf de Klerk has likely been at the centre of one or two raucous parties in the wake of the Springboks’ World Cup win, but last weekend there was one more important welcoming party waiting to greet him when he landed back in England. It has been quite a journey for the 28-year-old scrum-half, who was exiled from the national side when he moved to Sale two years ago, but he left Japan early[..]

Warren Gatland: ‘I would’ve gone into a final against England feeling we could win’

The former Wales head coach on what might have been at the World Cup, looking forward to the Lions and whether he’ll one day coach the All Blacks “Absolutely,” Warren Gatland says when he is asked if he would still love to coach the All Blacks one day. “I went back and gave my reasons why I just couldn’t apply for the job right now. I’ve got it on my phone.” There is a long pause while the New Zealander, who has just completed 12 years as head coach of Wales and took them to their second World Cup semi-fina[..]

Football quiz: leading international goalscorers

How much do you know about some of international football’s sharpest shooters? Cristiano Ronaldo has moved up to second in the list of all-time goalscorers in the men's international game after scoring 99 goals for Portugal. Which player stands above him? Ferenc Puskás (Hungary/Spain) Ali Daei (Iran) Kunishige Kamamoto (Japan) Hussein Saeed (Iraq) Who is the all-time leading women's international goalscorer with 184 goals in 256 games? Marta (Brazil) Christine Sinclair (Canada) Carli Lloyd (USA) Abby Wambac[..]

Dan Biggar kicks Northampton to victory as Saints swat aside Lyon

• Northampton 25-14 Lyon • Wales fly-half kicks six penalties in imperious display Dan Biggar guided Northampton to a comfortable Champions Cup victory over Lyon with an imperious display in his first appearance since the World Cup. Biggar showed no signs of a hangover from Wales’s run to the semi-finals in Japan, kicking 20 points in a flawless performance from the tee as Northampton outclassed the Top 14 leaders. Continue reading...

AL West: Can Angels land an ace?

9:46 AM ET With MLB free agency underway, the offseason is going to pick up steam. What are the big questions facing all 30 teams? Here’s a look at the AL West, where the Astros continue to loom, the A’s always seem to find a way to contend and the Angels appear poised to go […]

England’s Eddie Jones: I made two selection mistakes in World Cup final

• Coach says Marler should have played at loosehead prop • Also rues not reverting to Farrell-Tuilagi-Slade midfield England coach Eddie Jones has said he should have played Joe Marler ahead of Mako Vunipola at loosehead prop in the Rugby World Cup final which they lost in Japan. England, who were chasing only their second World Cup title, were defeated 32-12 by South Africa in Yokohama earlier this month and Jones said he was left to rue his decisions. Continue reading...

Jeopardy James avenges loss, wins Champions

7:59 PM ET James Holzhauer, who garnered national attention this spring on “Jeopardy!” with a prolific run, won the game show’s Tournament of Champions during Friday’s episode, fending off rival Emma Boettcher to capture the $250,000 first prize. Holzhauer, a 35-year-old Las Vegas sports bettor, won $2.46 million during a 32-game winning streak. That streak […]

How Rugby Australia risks ending up with a Wallabies coach they don't want | Bret Harris

The length and details of any contract offered to Michael Cheika’s replacement will be key As Rugby Australia determines who becomes the new Wallabies coach they will also consider the length of the successful candidate’s contract. It seems sensible to sign the new coach to a four-year contract, culminating at the next World Cup in France in 2023, but does the governing body really want to lock themselves into a lengthy contract that would potentially leave them stuck with a coach they did not want at the n[..]

Socceroos offered chance to lay down marker against old foes Jordan | John Duerden

Graham Arnold’s side can succeed where their more celebrated predecessors failed against a team this time led by a great admirer of Australian football When Australia joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006 there was the enticing prospect of establishing rivalries with the continent’s giants such as Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Yet it is Jordan that have become the Socceroos’ unlikely nemesis, winning three of the five competitive games the two have played. If that becomes four from si[..]

David Villa to retire: a look back at Spain's most prolific goalscorer – video report

Spanish striker David Villa is to retire from football in January. The 37-year-old will finish his career at Vissel Kobe in Japan. The forward scored 59 goals in 98 appearances for Spain, five of them coming at the 2010 World Cup, where Spain were crowned champions for the first time. Villa made a name for himself at Valencia before moving to Barcelona and Atlético Madrid. His time at Barcelona saw him become a Champions League winner, under the leadership of Pep Guardiola, scoring the opening goal in a 3-1[..]

David Villa to retire: 'It's better to leave football before football leaves me'

Striker will finish career in January with Vissel Kobe 37-year-old scored 59 goals in 98 appearances for Spain Spanish striker David Villa says he will retire in January. The 37-year-old will finish his career with Vissel Kobe in January of next year at the close of the league season in Japan, ending the career of Spain’s top scorer in international play. Related: David Villa's understated majesty is a model for a modern superstar | Barney Ronay Continue reading...

Eddie Jones should take England to 2023 World Cup, says Chris Robshaw

• 2015 captain says future of young England side is ‘very bright’ • Harlequins captain calls for English improvement in Europe Chris Robshaw believes Eddie Jones should take England to the 2023 World Cup in France, where he expects at least two-thirds of the players who went all the way to the final in Japan still to be in contention. The disappointment felt after losing to South Africa did not compare with the dejection in 2015 after the England side Robshaw captained became the first hosts not to make the[..]

Inoue gets past Donaire, signs with Top Rank

9:01 AM ET Naoya “The Monster” Inoue has rarely faced adversity during his reign of terror through boxing’s smaller weight classes, but when he finally did against Nonito Donaire, Inoue came through like a champion in a punishing contender for fight of the year. Inoue, bleeding from a cut over his right eye and nose […]

Lionesses boosted by record ticket sales at Wembley

Manager Phil Neville says side needs to use possible sellout to inspire youngsters The projected record-breaking attendance for a women’s football match in Britain should inspire fans to come regularly and encourage girls to believe they can play at international level, the England manager Phil Neville said on Friday. More than 86,500 tickets have been sold for England’s showpiece friendly against Germany at Wembley on Saturday, close to the stadium’s 90,000 capacity. The attendance could beat the 80,203 wh[..]

Lucy Bronze: ‘We’ve come from paying to play – I had to pay for my kit’

The England and Lyon full-back talks about how far women’s football has come before England face Germany at Wembley Lucy Bronze is ready for a sold-out Wembley. “It just creates an atmosphere,” she says. “That’s why people love football. That’s why they love the Premier League. It’s the buzz around the game. It’s the emotion in each tackle and each header, each goal. You’re not only celebrating that goal for yourself and the team but also celebrating with all these thousands of people around you.” Germany’s[..]

Emily Scarratt focuses on France after whirlwind week and world award | Emma John

After a 12,000-mile round trip to Japan where she was named world player of the year, England’s totemic centre gets back to work on Saturday – with the 2021 World Cup a longer-term goal The England centre Emily Scarratt is one of the best readers of play on a rugby pitch. She is not so great at spotting a dummy off the field, it turns out. When she was the only one of the three England women nominated for the World Rugby player of the year award who was flown to Japan for the ceremony last weekend, it did n[..]

The USWNT’s Vlatko Andonovski era begins with a familiar foe

6:23 PM ET Graham Close Graham Hays covers college sports for espnW, including softball and soccer. Hays began with ESPN in 1999. COLUMBUS, Ohio — Maybe it’s for the best that Vlatko Andonovski’s first game as head coach of the United States women’s national team will skip right past the beginner stage. Rather than […]

Scottish Rugby fined £70,000 over Mark Dodson’s World Cup comments

• SRU ordered to aplogise for criticism over threat to Japan game • Scottish Rugby to ‘reflect on outcome and consider our options’ The Scottish Rugby Union has been formally reprimanded and fined £70,000 for comments made by chief executive Mark Dodson during the World Cup. Tensions rose during the recent tournament in Japan as Scotland’s pivotal group clash with the hosts was put under threat by Typhoon Hagibis. With Scotland needing to win the game to have a chance of progression, Dodson said at a press [..]

Another slow winter? Rendon or Cole? Mookie on the move? Passan’s 20 hot stove questions

5:00 PM ET Jeff PassanESPN Close ESPN MLB insiderAuthor of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports” On the day after the World Series, an agent for a prominent free agent this winter expressed shock at how busy his day had been. In the past two seasons, free agency […]

Talking Horses: will Frankie Dettori ever win a Melbourne Cup?

The Italian jockey is now 0-17 in ‘the race that stops a nation’ and came away with a ban for the second time in five years Frankie Dettori came heartbreakingly close to a first success in the Melbourne Cup but, instead of lifting the trophy, he ended his day with a dressing-down from the stewards, who demoted his mount from second place to fourth. The veteran jockey delivered a fine ride aboard the 25-1 shot Master Of Reality and they briefly seemed to have pinched the £2m prize. Instead, they were collare[..]

Rugby World Cup 2019: Guardian writers' teams of the tournament

The hosts’ Michael Leitch deserves a special mention while England’s Tom Curry and Handre Pollard cannot be omitted While South Africa’s final surge tipped the scales in a couple of positions, Pieter-Steph du Toit is an unlucky absentee. But how could you possibly omit the incredible Japan captain, Michael Leitch, or the youthful Tom Curry from the back row? Only one All Black tells its own story but the semi-final against England defined New Zealand’s World Cup. There is one place too, for an Argentinian –[..]

South Africa Wins Third Rugby World Cup Title Over England

The Springboks overpowered England in a 32-12 victory on Saturday

Hamilton looks set to win sixth title in style at the U.S. GP

9:14 PM ET AUSTIN, Texas — Lewis Hamilton needs just four points to make certain he secures his sixth world championship on Sunday, but after Friday practice at the Circuit of the Americas he will have his sights set way higher than the eighth place finish he needs to secure those points. Winning on U.S. […]

Japan 2019 might be the moment rugby union glimpsed a more fulfilling future | Robert Kitson

Can-do spirit and a receptive host country look to have opened new markets for what has been a virtually landlocked sport On stage at the World Rugby awards ceremony on Sunday evening the extraordinary Siya Kolisi was asked what kind of public reaction he and his team were expecting on their return to South Africa. “I’m not sure,” replied the Springbok captain, a note of uncertainty in his voice. He sounded like a bemused lottery winner still attempting to compute how much his life had just changed. The hea[..]

South Africa defence guru Jacques Nienaber in line to succeed Erasmus

• World Cup-winning coach to return to role as director of rugby • Former physiotherapist Nienaber expected to take over South Africa’s defence guru, Jacques Nienaber, is in contention to succeed Rassie Erasmus as the new Springboks coach, with the world champions now turning their attention to the British and Irish Lions tour in 2021 after their success in Japan. Related: Rugby World Cup 2019: the best player, the best match – our verdicts Continue reading...

Ten key themes as World Cup says sayonara to Japan | Paul Rees

Momentum proved a myth, cracking down on high tackles was a success and emerging nations showed their worth It looked like advantage to the holders after they effectively decided the pool pecking order on the opening weekend, but it prompted South Africa’s head coach, Rassie Erasmus, to make a significant change. The Springboks conceded only four tries in the tournament, two against the All Blacks. Erasmus used a conventional split of five forwards and three backs on the bench on that evening, but he change[..]

Eddie Jones proud of England but will ‘make a new team’ for Six Nations

• Coach plans England overhaul following World Cup • Jones hits out at ‘negativity’ towards side after final defeat Eddie Jones is planning an England overhaul after their World Cup final defeat by South Africa, declaring the end of an era for his current team. Jones’s side surpassed expectations by reaching the final in Japan and temporarily returning to No 1 in the world rankings for the first time since 2004. They were comprehensively beaten by the Springboks, however, who gained the upper hand at the sc[..]

Japan 'probably the greatest' tournament, says World Rugby chief Beaumont – video

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont believes the Japan tournament will ‘probably be remembered as the greatest Rugby World Cup’. “We’ve broken records at every level,” said Beaumont a day after South Africa sealed Rugby World Cup glory in Yokohama. “Attendances, fan zones, broadcast, digital and social media.” Beaumont also revealed the World Rugby Council has approved the implementation of a dual-host selection process for the tournaments in 2027 and 2031, beginning next year. ‘Greatest’ Rugby World Cup[..]

RFU plan talks with England's Eddie Jones on staying until 2023 World Cup

• Jones staying on ‘makes sense’, says RFU chief Bill Sweeney • England head coach is currently under contract until 2021 †The Rugby Football Union will hold urgent talks with Eddie Jones over continuing as England’s head coach through to the 2023 World Cup with the chief executive Bill Sweeney admitting it “makes sense” for him to stay on. Jones guided England to their first World Cup final since 2007 in Japan, four years after their failure to get out of the pool stage on home soil. There is a growing cla[..]

'Greatest' Rugby World Cup provides a springboard for growth | Paul Rees

World Rugby hopes the success of the tournament in Japan will inspire countries from outside the traditional strongholds The hosts for the 2027 and 2031 Rugby World Cups will be decided at the same time with the organisers hoping that the success of the tournament in Japan will inspire countries from outside the traditional strongholds, such as the United States, to bid. The process will start in November next year and while South Africa (which has not staged the event since 1995) Australia and England will[..]

Rassie Erasmus the brains behind South Africa’s Bomb Squad | Paul Rees

Eddie Jones had the World Cup pedigree but the Springboks coach was more cunning in rotating his front-row resources South Africa had the Bomb Squad; England blew up. It was a tactical triumph for the Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus who, two years ago, was on his way from Munster to run the disintegrating professional game in South Africa only to find when he arrived home that the national side demanded his immediate attention. But the Springboks’ triumph was also based on his belief that sport is equally a[..]

Mood among England rugby fans as miserable as the weather

South Africa’s emphatic victory in the Rugby World Cup final leaves supporters flat England rugby fans were left as miserable as the weather after their team’s defeat to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final in Japan, a repeat of their heartache after the Springboks’ victory in the 2007 final. Supporters filled pubs up and down the country or the 9am kick-off, tucking into sausage rolls and pints of Guinness. Continue reading...

How did your team perform at the Rugby World Cup?

Did your side live up to expectations, exceed them or fall flat? The Rugby World Cup has been a huge success for Japan. The hosts enjoyed an thrilling ride to the quarter-finals, beating Russia, Ireland and Scotland along the way. Did your team perform with the same panache? Did they meet expectations or collapse under the pressure of the big occasion? What was your favourite moment of the last six weeks? And what impact will the tournament have for the sport’s future in your country? Share your thoughts wi[..]

'I forgot about Eddie’s magic': Japanese fans face final with split loyalties

There is little appetite in Japan for England to exact revenge and genuine affection for the Springboks and their travelling fans It has been almost a fortnight since Japan exited the Rugby World Cup, but it is standing-room-only at the No Side Club, a rugby-themed bar in the Takadanobaba district of Tokyo. Japanese fans have come together, as they do on the last Wednesday of every month to eat, drink and support rugby in Kamaishi, a tournament venue destroyed by the March 2011 tsunami disaster and, more re[..]

England's Eddie Jones coaches Japanese youth side before World Cup final – video

The England head coach, Eddie Jones, and his coaching staff took a break from their Rugby World Cup final preparations to coach a local youth rugby team. Having coached in Japan for six years, including leading the national side to the 2015 World Cup, Jones was able to communicate with the teenagers from Fuchu Nishi High School in Japanese. England face Rassie Erasmus's Springboks in a repeat of the 2007 final that saw South Africa lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time, while England are aiming for th[..]

Jonny Wilkinson drops in on England training before World Cup final

• Former fly-half seen running kicking drills with team • Wilkinson kicked winning drop-goal in 2003 final Jonny Wilkinson joined the England camp to deliver a drop-goal clinic on the eve of their World Cup final against South Africa. Wilkinson’s unforgettable drop-goal in the 2003 final against Eddie Jones’s Australia sealed England’s only World Cup title and the former fly-half dropped in to give some tips to Owen Farrell and co on Friday. Wilkinson was seen running kicking drills with members of the squa[..]

Rugby mania has swept through Japan. But will that end after the World Cup? | Justin McCurry

Japanese rugby authorities failed to build on the team’s success in 2015 but, as a groundbreaking home tournament draws to a close, there are signs the boom may not turn to bust The shift in the rugby world’s axis was apparent in a suburban Tokyo park last weekend. There was nothing unusual about the dozen schoolboys letting off steam in the late afternoon sunshine. But for the first time any of their parents could remember, they had abandoned their regular kickabout to experiment with a squeaky clean oval [..]

'I was just feeding the kids' – England's Ben Spencer on his World Cup call-up

England’s replacement scrum-half says his dash to Japan cannot compete with New Zealand World Cup winner Stephen Donald’s summons from a fishing trip By his own admission it has been a crazy few days for the England rugby player Ben Spencer. He seems almost sheepish when he says that his is not quite the Cinderella story famously told by the former New Zealand World Cup winner Stephen Donald – “I was just at home, feeding the kids” – but Spencer is nonetheless on the brink of his own fairytale ahead of Satu[..]

The haka, Nascar brawls and India's amazing Champions Boat League | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features rough weeks in football, an amazing Moto2 save, curling and plenty more 1) A big week for the haka, whether it needed to be or not. Here’s World Rugby’s official page highlighting “England’s incredible response to intense New Zealand haka”. Before World Rugby fined England for it. Here’s some haka history … and some old-school action. But then there’s Auckland Grammar and King’s College and the Tall Blacks. Or when New Zealand and Tonga meet, with the Sipi Tau. 2) A rough o[..]

Tiger Woods Ties Sam Snead’s Record of 82 PGA Tour Wins

"I can still manage my way around the golf course," Woods said.

Woods wins Zozo, ties Snead with 82nd Tour title

8:40 PM ET CHIBA, Japan — The journey to Japan was ostensibly about fulfilling corporate obligations, participating in a made-for-TV exhibition and getting in some reps following knee surgery and physical challenges that dogged Tiger Woods‘ throughout the summer. Nobody — including Woods, if he is honest — was thinking about a victory, and a […]

'World class' Cheslin Kolbe returns for South Africa in World Cup final

Return of winger the only change to Springboks squad Rassie Erasmus sticks with huge pack for England game South Africa winger Cheslin Kolbe has returned to the starting side for the Rugby World Cup final against England in Yokohama on Saturday after he recovered from an ankle injury. Kolbe missed the Springboks’ pool match against Canada with an ankle problem and had to leave the field in the latter stages of the quarter-final against Japan before sitting out their 19-16 semi-final win over Wales. Continue[..]

George Ford pivotal to England’s hopes of winning Rugby World Cup

The England fly-half is in cruise control – his kicking into space has been better than all the other No 10s in Japan Having played against England at this World Cup I am not remotely surprised to see them in the final. They have a squad – and a gameplan – with “world champions” written all over it. Their confidence must also be through the roof having dismantled the All Blacks in Yokohama. Eddie Jones’s men seem to be peaking at the right time and have built steadily throughout the tournament. Love him or [..]

Wales make nine changes for game of farewells against New Zealand

Coach Warren Gatland rings changes in last match Kieran Read among several All Blacks in final outings Wales have made nine changes for Friday night’s World Cup bronze medal match, which will mark Warren Gatland’s departure after 12 years in charge. The coach has kept a core of experience with Alun Wyn Jones leading the side on his 134th appearance for Wales, backed up by fellow Lions Jonathan Davies, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty. But players who have had a minor role at the tournament in Jap[..]

Tiger’s lead up to 3 going into Zozo final round

12:22 AM ET CHIBA, Japan — Tiger Woods is 18 holes away from matching one of the PGA Tour’s most esteemed records. Woods overcame an opening-hole bogey Sunday morning at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club to shoot 4-under-par 66 in the third round of the Zozo Championship, building a three-shot advantage over Hideki Matsuyama through […]

Tiger closing on historic win, up 3 as play halted

12:22 AM ET CHIBA, Japan – Tiger Woods needs just seven more holes to match one of the PGA Tour’s most esteemed records. But what appeared an easy stroll to his 82nd PGA Tour victory got at least a bit more interesting before darkness set at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club on Sunday, as Hideki […]

Australian rugby crisis continues in absence of long-term sustainable plan | Bret Harris

Without a symbiotic relationship between Rugby Australia and the Super Rugby franchises, the game has lurched from disaster to disaster Ever since the Wallabies surrendered the Bledisloe Cup to the All Blacks in 2003, Australian rugby has lurched from one crisis to another, either on the field or off the field. Or both. The game seems to be stuck in perpetual crisis. The current disaster follows the Wallabies’ failed World Cup campaign in Japan, which has led to the departure of coach Michael Cheika, put en[..]

‘It was a try’: England’s Mark Cueto still haunted by ghosts of 2007 final

• Wing had try disallowed in defeat against South Africa • ‘It still seems to come up every other day’ The former England wing Mark Cueto will be willing Eddie Jones’s men to victory in Japan on Saturday, even if it means him losing his claim to fame. The ex-Sale star was a bootlace away from becoming England’s hero in the 2007 World Cup final against South Africa in Paris, where he was denied what he still believes was a match-winning try. The referee, Alain Rolland, was unsighted when Cueto touched down i[..]